SD-WAN Poised to Transform Enterprise Networking

July 01, 2016

By Laura Stotler, SD-WAN Contributing Editor

Software virtualization is set to redefine enterprise networking, just as it has transformed the data center and cloud computing. And since most enterprise campuses are already using wide area networks (WAN) for their connectivity needs, SD-WAN is where the most activity and innovation will take place.

The transformation and improvement of the WAN is long overdue, according to a recent Forbes article from Kumar Mehta, CEO and founder of Versa Networks. Versa just announced a key agreement with CenturyLink (News - Alert), becoming a SD-WAN and SD-Security vendor for the service provider’s new managed SD-WAN service.

“Until very recently, the WAN has not received the attention and innovation that many parts of IT have garnered,” wrote Mehta. “Even SDN has largely excluded the WAN. For growing enterprises, limiting SDN to the data center potentially creates a productivity disparity between HQ and branch employees. Significant parts of the organization quite literally operate at different speeds. In a fast-paced marketplace, a two-speed organization is at a competitive disadvantage.”

Thankfully that trend is now changing and SD-WAN is off and running with a slew of new developments and solutions geared toward the enterprise. The new CenturyLink SD-WAN service is a prime example, using network functions virtualization (NFV) to deliver centralized provisioning, scalability and integrated security. The service takes advantage of Versa’s software-based instances of networking functions, which are deployed on off-the-shelf hardware. It also includes Versa SD-Security functions for secure direct Internet access using SD-WAN. The result is a low cost solution offering fast service and superior performance.

“As CenturyLink began researching the SD-WAN market, we saw the opportunity to innovate beyond purely networking technology and fundamentally design a new type of managed service,” said Eric Barrett, director of network products, CenturyLink. “Versa Networks continues to innovate the way managed services are built, offering a broad set of benefits using a highly flexible NFV-based approach.”

SD-WAN is poised to become an integral part of the enterprise as additional service providers begin offering it to their customers. It no longer makes sense to use the software-defined approach in the data center while operations and other branches suffer from outdated networking standards. As organizations get savvy to the compelling benefits of the software-defined approach, it is set to become a ubiquitous part of enterprise networking.

Edited by Maurice Nagle